A rattler wriggles restlessly across the desert floor then stops, coils, flicks its tongue and emits a sinister “sssssss!” at a menacingly poised scorpion. Suddenly, down in the nearby wash (filled, strangely, with blue-green water), along comes a hard-twangin’ surfing Dick Dale, whistling the theme to a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Hanging 10 not far behind the surfer is Ralph Stanley, attired in naught but a Speedo and Stetson, playing a mandolin. …
Well, something like that. Toronto’s Sadies, on their fourth album, cover a lot of territory. Together since ’95 and boasting, appropriately enough, diverse chops (the band has backed folks like Mekons/Waco Brothers main man Jon Langford, alt-country diva Neko Case and R&B wolfman Andre Williams), their musical aim seems to be less geared toward genre-based songs and more at conjuring moods and impressions. Mind you, there are tunes on this disc that hunker down in specific locales. The pedal steel-driven, Bakersfieldian country of “Such A Little Word,” is one example. Specific eras are also highlighted; “Oak Ridges” is pure lone-prairie, cowboy twang stuff that, with Dallas Good’s deep, resonant vocal, suggests early ’60s Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins. But the band’s real forte is in blurring the edges. Opening instrumental “Lay Down Your Arms” initially suggests “Ghost Riders In The Sky,” yet the guitar flourishes and shuddery drumming are more accurately pegged as being derived from surf music. “Of Our Land” deceptively opens on an acoustic folk/country note only to abruptly go all psychedelic-baroque (the Left Banke covering “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” anyone?), en route to firing the interstellar overdrives into the next galaxy. Taken as a whole, the Sadies’ magical mystery tour should appeal to a huge range of listeners while never sacrificing consistency of purpose.
E-mail Fred Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.